Wednesday, May 27, 2015

This Pope doesn't surf the Web (and hasn't watched TV since 1990)

Can it be that the Pope never saw the Gangnam Style video on YouTube?

Can it be that he's got no idea about "The Bachelor"?



Is it possible that if you asked him his opinion of "Game Of Thrones," he'd chuckle and suggest that he'd never politicked to become pope, but knew others who had?

I find these thoughts invading because of an interview Pope Francis gave to the Argentinian newspaper La Voz Del Pueblo.

As the Vatican Radio reports it, he said he limits his media consumption to 10 minutes of the Italian daily La Repubblica in the morning. He apparently doesn't surf the Web at all. (The Vatican does, though, continue to update the @Pontifex account on Twitter.)

Can it be that if got on a Delta flight and saw the company's new safety video featuring the Overly Attached Girlfriend and a serial finger-biter called Charlie, he'd have no idea which of God's children these were?

Perhaps even more startling (and comforting) is the pope's admission that he hasn't watched TV since 1990.

He said he'd made a vow to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This particular essence of the Virgin Mary dedicates herself to the Carmelite Order of nuns, which favors contemplation over "Californication." Or even conversation.

The pope, though, explained his decision in disarmingly simple terms: "It's not for me."

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There's surely something heartening that the Pope is largely a media purist. Who would we all be if we weren't unduly influenced from the day we were born by news outlets and blogs telling us what's trendy, what's important, what's supposedly happening?

The pope also showed an unconscious solidarity with gamers. He can't go out for pizza anymore, and delivery, he said, just isn't as good.

Of course, the pope is similar to many tech leaders, as he too is trying to make the world a better place.

Perhaps, though, he's slightly more committed to the purity of the idea (despite the fact that the Vatican Bank announced on Monday that it has just enjoyed a 20-fold increase in its revenues).

But who would he like us -- the weak, media-addled and unwashed -- to be? He said we should always keep in our minds "memory, the capacity to see the present, a utopian vision for the future."

He didn't mention whether that utopian future should feature artificial intelligence. I suspect, though, that he's not that keen on humans becoming robots.

-shaw

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